Three strikes and Mississauga psychiatrist is out
By Michele Mandel
July 2, 2019
There were warning signs from the start.
And now, after his third round of trouble, a Mississauga psychiatrist has lost his court bid to have his medical licence reinstated.
Dr. Christopher Doyle was stripped of his licence last year by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) for incompetence and professional misconduct, including sending a troubled woman to hospital in a suicidal state after abruptly firing her as a patient.
Doyle had argued that his punishment was too harsh — especially since he hadn’t been found guilty of any sexual impropriety which is typically the reason to yank a doctor’s right to practise.
The Divisional Court disagreed.
“The penalty of revocation is not reserved for the ‘worst of the worst’ cases or offenders,” Justice F.L. Myers wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.
“It is available when the facts justify the imposition of a revocation in order to protect the public where no lesser punishment will adequately do so.”
The college welcomed the decision.
“The CPSO is pleased that the Court agreed that the penalty ordered by the Discipline Committee was ‘clearly reasonable,’” said spokesman Shae Greenfield.
“The unchallenged expert evidence revealed serious and widespread deficiencies which exposed some of Dr. Doyle’s patients to harm or injury.”
This was hardly the first time Doyle had raised concerns.
In 1998, he was suspended as chief resident in psychiatry at Mount Sinai Hospital for his unauthorized moonlighting at an insurance assessment centre where he was conducting physical exams.
He was just beginning his career and already the regulatory college had to place him under supervision for three years.
In 2009, the Credit Valley hospital psychiatrist ran afoul of the college again for beginning a sexual relationship with a vulnerable woman shortly after terminating their doctor/patient relationship in 2006.
While he was ordered suspended for a year, the penalty was shortened to six months after he completed several of their required courses.
Doyle resumed his private practice in Mississauga and moved to a position at Cambridge Memorial Hospital — all while under CPSO-ordered monitoring and therapy.
An assessment had found he needed to deal with his issues relating to childhood trauma and marital stress or he’d “continue to be at mild to moderate risk of repeating boundary violations.”
Sure enough, yet another patient was complaining about his “boundary issues” just five years later.
After Doyle became increasingly casual during their appointments in 2014, the high-risk patient said she confided that she had feelings for him.
Doyle told her he was flattered but he could no longer treat her.
The problem was that he didn’t ensure that she had another psychiatrist to take over her care.
Instead, she was left feeling “confused, ashamed and humiliated,” according to the decision by the college disciplinary committee, and had to be hospitalized with suicidal thoughts.
The CPSO brought in an investigator who reviewed 24 of Doyle’s patient charts and found 19 revealed a “lack of skill and/or judgment and exposed or is likely to expose his patients to harm or injury” — including inappropriate medication.
The investigator also examined 29 videos Doyle posted to his YouTube channel between 2012 and 2014, including one where he’s shirtless after cycling and promoting an energy drink and another where a patient is videotaped offering a gushing testimonial that he “taps into my creative side and empowers me…. Go Dr. Doyle!”
The investigator found 23 of the 29 videos demonstrated a lack of judgment and 15 contained discussions that “expose or are likely to expose patients to risk of harm.”
There would be no third chance to mend his ways.
“Dr. Doyle poses a serious risk to the public in the way that he practises medicine,” the discipline committee concluded last year in revoking his licence.
“His failings are fundamental, pervasive and profound. Despite many years of supervision, monitoring and psychotherapy, his patients are still at serious risk of harm because of his deficiencies.
“The Committee found no evidence to indicate that he has addressed his financial problems, his marital problems, or childhood abuse issues, which are still unresolved and are likely to perpetuate his deficiencies and lack of judgment.”
In his failed appeal, Doyle had argued that he can still be rehabilitated.
But thankfully, no one’s willing to take that risk anymore.